I often get accused of being able to wear whatever I want because I'm a size 6. I'm here to tell you that that's simply not the case. Many of the styles that I love are in fact designed for a curvier, bustier frame than mine, and I'm forced to make do with what's out there. As a result, I've learned to adapt a lot of styles to suit my somewhat rectangular dimensions and size 36A bust.
Clothing should be styled to flatter the particular body it is draped on, thus it is perfectly acceptable for the same item to look completely different depending on who wears it. We've all fallen in love with that beautiful sweater that looks amazing on the hanger, only to put it on and discover that it makes us look like we're wearing a potato sack. With some items there's nothing to be done except to walk away, but sometimes you can take that shapeless sack and style it in a way that works for you.
Now I'm certainly not advocating running out and buying all the latest trendy clothing and forcing it to suit you; far from it. What I AM saying is that sometimes all it takes is a little imagination to adapt a style to flatter your body. Belts are perfect for giving shape and definition to your waist when it's hidden beneath baggy or bulky styles. Layering is a great way to solve all sorts of problems, from sleeves that are too short to a neckline that is too low. Skirts and dresses can be layered too, to change both the length and the fullness. The end result will not only be more interesting, it will also be completely yours.
When I spotted this cashmere sweater years ago in the store window, I immediately wanted it. The thick, soft luxuriousness of the knit and the unusual pale greenish-yellow color were so enticing that I went in and tried it on. It looked boxy and terrible. It made my bust look smaller and my waist nonexistent. So what did I do? I bought it anyway. It was so appealing to me in every other respect that I knew I had to figure out a way to make it work.
In the case of the sweater the only thing really lacking is a fitted waist, which the elastic belt easily takes care of. Another notable item in my wardrobe that is really not cut for my figure is my Crystal Candy dress. When I saw it online I loved the length, the colors, and the pattern. It was on sale for $20. In every way it was perfect for me, except that I haven't the cleavage that the top of the dress is cut for. So rather than wear it alone I layer it with other tops, and it looks great. Adding a belt further accentuates my small waist, which in turn makes the rest of my figure look more hourglass and proportioned.
The point I'm trying to make is that no matter what sort of figure you have, don't assume that you can't wear a particular style. Maybe it's just that you need to try wearing it in a different way.
Sweater: Anne Taylor
Scarf: A gift from Sal
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe